Thoughts on 2017 Under Armour All-American Game

Thoughts on 2017 Under Armour All-American Game

January 2, 2017

Luiji Vilain

Yesterday was the 2017 Under Armour All-American Game, which I was able to sit down and patiently watch for the first time in years. Here I’ve collected some thoughts on the Michigan commits who played, as well as some other relevant guys.
Jaylen Kelly-Powell – S – Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: There were reports throughout the week that Kelly-Powell was playing some cornerback and struggling. He ended up playing safety in the game, but he lined up in man coverage on slot receivers at times, too. He didn’t play a great deal, but when he did, he wasn’t great or terrible. He had some decent coverage a couple times and didn’t register on the stat sheet from what I saw.
Kwity Paye – DE – Warwick (RI) Bishop Hendricken: Paye didn’t start, but he played a fair amount as a rotation guy in the first half. He showed some quickness off the edge and made a TFL when chasing the ball from the back side, though he was unblocked on the play. He also had a QB hurry that forced an incompletion. Paye has some quickness, but he gives up on plays too easily. That happened in practice and in the game. He needs to play with more tenacity. I did not hear about any injuries to him, but for whatever reason, I did not see him in the second half of the game.
Hit the jump for my thoughts on Cesar Ruiz, Luiji Vilain, and more.

Cesar Ruiz – C – Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy: Ruiz started at center for Team Highlight and rotated every other series throughout the game. Teams in these All-American games aren’t allowed to run odd-front defenses, so he was uncovered for the entire game, which makes things easier. Still, he has good size and strength, and his snaps were solid. He did miss one block that I saw against Marvin Wilson, but otherwise, I think Michigan got themselves a very good center/guard prospect.
Luiji Vilain – DE – Alexandria (VA) Episcopal: Along with Ruiz, Vilain was the standout for Michigan. He played both left and right end at times, and he did so very well, for the most part. At somewhat around 245 lbs., he was outweighed by offensive tackles like Austin Deculus and Jedrick Wills, so his effectiveness against the run was spotty. However, his speed rush had them reeling, and he showed a quick inside move as well. He was praised throughout the week for his performance and his use of his hands in practice, and that showed in the game. I counted 7 QB hurries and 1 tackle in the game. It’s important to keep in mind that these games favor the defense, but 7 quarterback hurries are impressive noneteheless.
Jeff Thomas – WR – East St. Louis (IL) East St. Louis: Michigan was recruiting Thomas when he was a youngster and Brady Hoke was the coach, but Jim Harbaugh backed off. He has had some off-the-field issues, but he has always looked like one of the most electric players in the class. In fact, I have yet to see someone who’s more dangerous in the open field. He won the MVP of this game with 3 catches for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns, including 79- and 44-yard scores.
Isaiah Wilson – OT – Brooklyn (NY) Poly: It’s not clear whether Michigan still has a shot at pulling in Wilson after his commitment to Georgia, although I would say the chances are almost non-existent. But I was still interested to see him play, and he did about how I expected. After checking in at 6’8″, 355 lbs. for the week, he looked a little bit out of shape and very raw in pass protection. He leaves his hands down by his side and doesn’t get them inside when he punches. He also needs to work on his footwork. He has a ton of potential, but he’s raw.


  1. GKblue
    Comments: 283
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Jan 02, 2017 at 8:55 AM

    Thanks for taking such good notes while I was taking a nap. I’m old.

    I was most curios about Ruiz and he does seem solid. This Jeff Thomas kid sure is exciting when he gets his hands on the ball.

    If you invite all the MGO guys over here and they kill the site you should find a way for your loyal regulars to get in via a spare set of keys or something. Told ya I’m old.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2957
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jan 02, 2017 at 9:20 AM

      You’re welcome.

      Unfortunately, *I* can’t even access the site when the MGoBlog people start showing up in droves. So I can’t make any fixes, create any additional posts, etc. It’s pretty frustrating. I keep being told the issue has been fixed, but it’s not.

      • crazyjoedavola
        Comments: 191
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Jan 02, 2017 at 3:14 PM

        Yeah first they crash the MGO servers, and then they migrate over here and overwhelm the site… on a serious note, great job on the traffic increase and exposure… I can tell just by the amount of posts people are making now compared to the old site that the traffic volume has really increased. Keep up the great work.

      • boliver46
        Comments: 27
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Jan 03, 2017 at 11:16 AM

        Who hosts your site? Amazon AWS?

        Most services should offer an auto-scaling option. During “Low traffic” periods, a smaller segment of bandwidth, hardware, etc. will be utilized.

        As traffic increases, a good service will scale up hardware and bandwidth automatically.

        Not sure who you have, or what kind of contract you are in – but hopefully you get this resolved!

        • Thunder
          Comments: 2957
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Jan 03, 2017 at 2:14 PM

          I’m using a local company. They tell me that it’s an auto-scaling hosting service, but it hasn’t been behaving that way. I have a request submitted to get it sorted out, but they haven’t really responded to me yet. Since we’re coming off a holiday, I figure they’re probably a little behind.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 6
    Joined: 12/30/2015
    Jan 02, 2017 at 11:57 AM

    About as expected (and I’m excited about Ruiz, esp after our OL performance the last couple of games), except for Paye — you would hope 3-star guys, especially from a non-hotbed area, would have a chip on their shoulder mentality and have a motor that wouldn’t quit. From your notes, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Not a promising sign.

  3. Tartarsauce
    Comments: 77
    Joined: 1/22/2016
    Jan 02, 2017 at 12:08 PM

    Vilain was a beast, going to be a good one.

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 4653
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Jan 02, 2017 at 6:25 PM

    Thanks for the recap. I don’t like putting too much on these all-star games but it’s nice to see elite athleticism against elite athleticism.

    Your thoughts on Vilain are very encouraging. You thinking he’ll be an instant-impact contributor in a Winovich-like pass rushing role?

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